Here's a quick lesson in how TV works: If a lot of people watch your show then you make a lot of money. That's why the cast of ABC's Emmy-winning "Modern Family" could be poised to seek a 208 percent raise.
According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara may open pre-fourth season negotiations with a $200,000 per episode asking price, up from $65,000. (That's in line with salaries on "The Big Bang Theory.")
It's unclear where this leaves Ed O'Neill, currently in the $105,000 range, in the renegotiation mix, or child cast members Rico Rodriguez, Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter. Fans consider them nearly as vital a part of the series as their elders. So . . . ?
Let's do the hypothetical math. If, in their happiest dreams, the six get such a raise, O'Neill gets $500,000 and each kid, $100,000 (not insanely out of the question), then "Family" cast salaries will exceed $2 million per episode -- a cost producer 20th TV would pass off to ABC anyway. Peanuts, perhaps, when considering during the truly fat days of TV the "Friends" cast negotiated in lockstep for $1 million per episode for the show's eighth, ninth and 10th seasons.
But enough with the math. What say you, fans? Does this brilliant cast on TV's best-scripted comedy deserve this? Or could someone else step in to do Burrell or Bowen's job just as well?
You know the answer. This is how TV works. But don't be surprised if this gets ugly. That's how TV works, too.